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Flyers Alumni Celebrate 40th Anniversary



Flyers Alumni Celebrate 40th Anniversary

The Flyers Alumni Affiliation is celebrating a particular anniversary in 2024: The fortieth anniversary of its basis. Via its storied historical past, the Flyers Alumni have raised tens of tens of millions of {dollars} for the group and staged dozens of memorable occasions, each on and off the ice.

Again within the spring of 1984, Flyers Corridor of Fame defenseman Joe Watson received along with a few of his outdated teammates to debate the opportunity of doing a little barnstorming profit video games in and across the Delaware Valley to boost cash for native charities or people in want. Watson provided to take the lead in reserving occasions, securing uniforms and placing collectively sport rosters.

That is how the Flyers Alumni Affiliation and the Flyers Alumni Group — initially referred to as the Philadelphia Legends staff — was born. Earlier than then, the Alumni had performed in a couple of “Previous Timers’ Video games” on the Spectrum, however the Alumni grew to become extra organized as a fraternal group and charitable fundraising group within the mid-Nineteen Eighties.

“We had bother getting uniforms at first,” Watson recalled. “Ultimately, we requested Ed Snider, and he provided to help.”

The Alumni video games began out being held on a small, native scale. Inside a couple of years, the variety of video games, the quantity of rinks and geographical space coated, the array of Alumni collaborating and cash raised started to develop every year. 

Aside from group rink profit video games and greater venue matches — corresponding to video games performed on the Spectrum in opposition to the Boston Bruins Alumni, New York Islanders Alumni, Buffalo Sabres Alumni, Lake Place 1980 Group USA Olympian Alumni, and the touring Hollywood All-Stars movie star staff — the Flyers Alumni staff additionally started to journey throughout the US, Canada and Europe.

The Flyers Alumni Group through the late Nineteen Eighties and early Nineteen Nineties participated in worldwide senior hockey tournaments in locations as distant as Finland, Norway, Germany and Switzerland. A few years later, in 2016, the Alumni did a three-city goodwill tour of Russia (Kazan, St. Petersburg, and Moscow). 

In the meantime, the Flyers Alumni Affiliation started to carry a wide range of off-ice fundraisers; the oldest and most enduring of which is the yearly Flyers Alumni Golf Invitational (now held every June at Dupont Nation Membership in Wilmington). 

In 2014, Bob “the Hound” Kelly, a longtime officer on the Alumni board and Flyers Neighborhood fixture, took a significant lead position in creating the Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp. Proper from the primary 12 months, all registration slots bought out. The Alumni quickly started a practice of holding one free-of-charge registration open every year for a worthy recipient. In 2024, the Alumni will maintain the tenth Fantasy Camp. Camp actions are held in and across the Class of 1923 Enviornment on the College of Pennsylvania campus. 

In 2015-16, after coming back from Ottawa to work in group improvement for the Flyers’ group, longtime Flyers defenseman Brad Marsh additionally took on the position of president of the Flyers Alumni Affiliation. One of many first main steps taken: a $2 million direct donation pledge to Snider Hockey and Schooling.

“The Alumni needed to have the ability to say thanks to Mr. Snider for all he did on our behalf and our households’ behalf, and it was a straightforward choice to make help for the work that Snider Hockey does right into a main focus of our fundraising,” Marsh recalled. 

Snider Youth Hockey & Schooling is way from the one group whom the Alumni have labored tirelessly to help – the record emcopasses dozens of charities of various sizes, and continues to broaden yearly — however their relationship with the Flyers Alumni has grown right into a familial sort of bond through the years. 

“Marshy has performed an unimaginable job with the Flyers Alumni Affiliation,” Watson mentioned. “Once you take a look at all the cash the Alumni have raised, all of the occasions the Alumni maintain every year, and the packages the Alumni have began for the group and for our members, it is fairly wonderful.”

Aside from the annual golf match and fantasy camp, an occasion referred to as “Friday Evening Fights”  has turn out to be a March custom since 2019. A celebration of old-time hockey and the sports activities’ powerful guys, the occasion options visitor audio system, spotlight movies and a catered dinner at 2300 Enviornment in South Philadelphia. Numerous different one-off or deliberate yearly occasions are additionally a part of the annual calendar.

Earlier this 12 months, at the side of Flyers Charities, the Flyers Alumni deliberate and staged a fundraising Alumni hockey sport in opposition to the Boston Bruins Alumni on the Wells Fargo Middle on January 26, 2024. The occasion drew greater than 15,000 attendees to the sector, and a VIP meet-and-greet occasion with the Alumni bought out all obtainable tickets. Proceeds benefited Flyers Charities and the Flyers Alumni Affiliation.

For the final 5 years, the Flyers Alumni Affiliation has labored in partnership with Assist Hope Reside as a part of the Alumni’s “Each Youngster Deserves a Bike” program. This system funds, builds and donates absolutely custom-made adaptive bicycles for particular wants youngsters within the Delaware Valley.

In April 2023, the “Each Youngster Deserves a Bike” program was acknowledged with an award from the Philadelphia Enterprise Journal for the success of the Flyers Alumni/Assist Hope Reside partnership.  Moreover, from Assist Hope Reside itself, the Flyers Alumni Affiliation obtained the Rainey Award.

One other signature Flyers Alumni marketing campaign: Began in 2019, the “12 Days of Christmas” vacation season giving program. Every year, the Alumni present financial donations and/or volunteer time to native charities, group teams, faculties and people/households in want. This system has yearly exceeded every previous 12 months’s donation totals, and  had one other record-setting 12 months in 2023. 

These are simply a few of the extra notable occasions and packages: Others are nonetheless underneath improvement. In celebration of the Flyers Alumni Affiliation’s fortieth anniversary,  there might be a brand new addition introduced quickly to hitch the record of annual establishments. 

“We’re pleased with our 40-year historical past, however we’re even prouder and extra excited for what lies forward,” Marsh mentioned.

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